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on 29 May 2011
This book is a huge help in that Linda Aronson really does pull together wide-ranging structures and show how they are related, and how they differ. Her analysis of films with complex structures is quite fascinating. And although she focuses on structure, her approach can also provide some unlocking of character through action. (Rather than action through character with is where many writers start. Not that that isn't a fine approach. Just that there is more than one way to skin a cat).

As a subsidiary plus, this book is a great clearinghouse of a lot of other screenplay gurus' advice. Linda Aronson references these works, which is a great help in seeking out information to help guide anyone looking for instruction in this area.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for insight into screenplay structure. I am actually rereading parts of it, it is so good!
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on 15 December 2013
I am a professional screenwriter and in my career I went through many books concerning the craft of storytelling. This is unique in its genre: all the classic books (Syd Field, Chris Vogler, Linda Seger, Robert MacKee, Dara Marks, John Truby) are based on the traditional structure (3 acts model or a single protagonist who embarks on an emotional/physical journey and undertakes a change). This is incorporates those books in the first part, being a useful recap of the basics. But he moves on: for what I know this is the only book that deals systematically with the new forms of storytelling like non-linear and multi-protagonist stories. He doesn't restrict the field of investigation to the classic movies but takes the theory on the next level and analyses in a clever way movies such as Memento, Pulp Fiction, American Beauty, 21 Grams and Amores Perros (where the reference films of the others movies were still "The QUeen of Africa" or "Tootsie". This book keeps the promises which is stated in the title: it is indeed a comprehensive guide to the 21st century screenplay. It's so wonderful cause it's not a prescriptive book which lists a series of dos and donts: it has a really open and fresh approach and helps you to understand better which form suits better your story. Moreover it contains a useful last section where it gives you some vital insights on how to write a screenplay (dwelling on dialogues, subtext and constructions of scenes). Usually the other books deal extensively with the construction of the story but say nothing about how to write a script in a visual compelling way with revealing witty dialogues. This book does so! If you're a screenwriter you should have it as a reference book on your desk! Buy it and you'll do a favour to yourself.
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on 8 February 2014
This book rewards a second or even third read - there is so much technical information on structuring your screenplay that it is hard to integrate it all in one read. Scholarly, authoritative and immensely helpful to the seriously aspirational screenwriter as well as the established screenwriter who wants to break out of the traditiional three act hero-on-a-transformaitonal-journey story. Highly recommended
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on 10 December 2010
Finally, a new paradigm! Screenwriting in the new millennium

I have read and own many screenwriting books, and all of them have some real value to them. But for some time, I have been looking for something that addresses the sophistication of audiences now. Sure the old models still work, but I was looking for help in telling stories in new ways. And this book Is the new paradigm.

Like Syd Field, McKee, Vogler and Blake Snyder, Linda has produced a revolutionary book that is of its day. . It's a hefty tome, but don't be put off by that as its an easy read too.

Revolutionary, empowering, sophisticated and inspiring.
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on 20 February 2015
There are some great ideas and insights buried in this overlong, rambling tome, e.g. that in some successful stories the biggest character is ‘mentor antagonist’ to a paler ‘protagonist’, and that there are successful alternatives to the standard single protagonist 3-act structure that can be analysed and used as templates. Where the book falls down is in trying, unsuccessfully, to be a practical writing guide. Without all the ‘development strategy’ repetition and padding it could have been a wonderful little ideas book. Great plums, but far, far too much pudding. Her occasional references to novel writing were oddly naive: she seems to think none of the storytelling rules apply in novels. Oh they do, they do, which is why this novelist reads screenwriting books about storytelling.
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on 23 May 2013
Lots of helpful insights and very much worth the money and the time spent reading and rereading it. For all film makers.
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on 9 March 2013
A great book that you can use as a tool to dip into to develop the craft of modern screenwriting.
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on 29 January 2011
Not just another '3 acts and a hero' screenwriting book. It's dense stuff, but all the better for that. Hugely recommended.
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on 7 December 2014
A great book with superb insight. Some revelatory ways of looking and writing.
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on 19 January 2016
Very informative. Haven't read it all yet, but seems like a very good book
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